The Storm of the Century of 2012

The Storm of the Century of 2012

As time progresses as does my confidence in the track of the storm that is currently Sandy.  24 hours of model runs have come in since my last update and most have kept the same path as was shown yesterday. The storm has been named “Frankenstorm” by a clever forecaster at HPC and is now trending on Twitter.

Past 24 hours

Sandy has already caused extensive damage to Jamaica, Cuba, and Haiti with several deaths reported in the region.  The storm, unexpectedly, remained quite strong after passing over Hispaniola, remaining a strong cat 1 hurricane.   As of the 2pm NHC advisory, the storm has sustained winds of 105 mph which is a strong category 2 hurricane on the verge of reaching major hurricane status (>110 mph).

The projected path of Sandy from the National Hurricane Center

Forecast

As each model run is processed, meteorologists everywhere get chills thinking about the unprecedented results of a “landfalling” major hybrid hurricane.  Sandy will continue to move northward for the next 2-3 days before making a shift west or even southwestward as the negatively tilted trough from the west approaches.

Major cities along the east coast will be impacted but the degree of damage very much depends on the location of the low pressure center.  The operational GFS has Sandy making a hard left turn when it is about even with New York City and bringing what would be a very large surge of water directly down the Long Island Sound.  The end result would be flooding through lower Manhattan and into Brooklyn.  For Philadelphia, the worst case would be the European solution which has the center coming up the mouth of the Delaware River which in conjunction with the heavy rains would effectively cause a storm surge up the Delaware causing flooding in the city.  Points along the south Jersey shore would also be heavily impacted by this solution as winds will come onshore pushing up an already enhanced high tide.  These are just two of the hundreds of possible outcomes of the storm.

The GFS ensemble is showing a lot of agreement

Impacts

One of the difficulties in being a meteorologist is determining the human impact of weather.  So much goes into how damage is created that is beyond just meteorological phenomena, coastal flooding is heavily dependent on oceanography and the exact timing of the storm, power outages can be impacted by how many leaves are still on a tree or by how well local utilities maintain their energy grid.  Impacts felt by one portion of the population may be totally different than felt by another portion.  So before bemoaning that a storm was “overhyped” take a step back and look at the more regional impact of an event, you might be surprised at how many people have been negatively impacted by an event.

Don’t do this:

 

With that said here are the impacts, almost unchanged from yesterday:

  • Record Coastal Flooding
  • Widespread tropical storm force winds
  • Heavy rain with localized river flooding
  • Restructuring of some shore lines (sounds extreme but happens when major hurricanes hit the coast)
  • Very wide spread power outages from Maryland through Maine
  • Snow in the Appalachians of West Virginia up into New York

What you can do to prepare

  • DO NOT BUY MILK AND EGGS , it is likely that you will lose power so it would be a waste of your money and food
  • If you have a generator, make sure to buy fuel
  • If you do not have a generator, it is likely too late as many home supply stores are already sold out
  • Keep your cell phone charged in case of an emergency
  • If you are parked under a large tree, move your car
  • Try to keep leaves away from storm drains, it will help to decrease the street flooding
  • Have candles and a lighter in a location easy to find, also keep a flashlight close to your bed
  • Cancel any air travel early next week
  • And try to enjoy the fact that you’re seeing history and there is nothing you can do to change what is happening.  Cuddle up next to a good book and candles and just enjoy your time disconnected from the world.

 

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